Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Picnic Basket: And How God Is Always Near

Dr. Mary Manz Simon newest picture book, My Picnic Basket: And How God Is Always Near, is a cute introduction to the idea that our loving God is always near us. The book itself is shaped like a picnic basket, with cutout pages showing the contents - including a watermelon, vegetables, a pinwheel, sunglasses, and umbrella. Page by page, in rhyming verse, we learn about a little boy's picnic and how it relates to God. For example, the watermelon reminds him that God gives him good food to eat; the pinwheel - moved by invisible wind - reminds him that while he can't see God, God is present; the umbrella and an approaching storm reminds him God will protect him. And when the sun reappears:
"I bow my head and whisper,
'Thanks, God, for living me.'"
The last page shows the picnic basket with a tag on it that says "I'm with you! Love, God." There is also a Bible verse: Matt. 28:20 ("I will be with you always.").
What I Like: My kids have both enjoyed Simon's other books - especially My Basket of Blessings, which, like My Picnic Basket, is a cut out, shaped rhyming book. So I wasn't surprised when they enjoyed this title, too. The illustrations are bright and colorful (and sometimes shiny) and the message is simple and clear.

What I Dislike: At one point, Simon writes: "Inside my picnic basket/is watermelon sweet." This sort of reordering of words in order to get them to rhyme is generally avoided because it's distracting. Otherwise, however, the rhymes and rhythm don't draw attention to themselves.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: toddler to preschool

Publishing Info: Standard; 2013; ISBN: 978-0784736999; board book, 14 pgs., $9.99

Buy Now at Amazon for $8.47
Or buy at ChristianBook.com for $8.19


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